Monday, December 26, 2022

My Favorite Songs of 2022

This is my last blog post of 2022 and I'm happy to say I will be back next year with a new music post every Monday morning if the fates and YouTube allow. In fact, I'm on a bit of a streak. For the last two years, I've posted a blog every Monday! Take a look at my Blog Archive on the right sidebar here and you will see I've been pretty steady since 2019 at getting a blog post out for almost all 52 weeks.

In January 2023, I start a new monthly series, 60 Years of Music • (Month), 1963. I discovered in my use of Wikipedia that in 1963 rock 'n' roll and folk music were growing so fast that Wikipedia starts to curate new album releases on a monthly basis. I'll be using 1963 in Music as my guide to return to my childhood at eight years of age, and maybe just a few years up or down from your age at that time, or if you're much younger and like the vibe here. I'm excited to chronicle the 1960's in music and bridge my blog posts and series leading up to 1963. 

In the right sidebar, you will also see my Under The Influence series that covers songs from 1949-1962. 

I'll still cover Fifty Years of Music on a monthly basis continuing with January, 1973 and leading up to my graduation from high school that year.

And still, I will cover #NewMusicMonday every month where I attempt to capture new rock 'n' roll and Americana (Folk) albums, song, covers, and YouTube videos.

So just like last week where I poured over all my monthly Fifty Years of Music from 1972 and presented My Favorite Songs of 1972, I've done the same right here for all my #NewMusicMonday(s) in 2022.

I've also taken a look at some other music magazines 'Best of 2022' in music and I must say, my 2022 playlist is just as worthy. If you like folk-Americana-indie and some good ol' rock 'n' roll here's a playlist to take you through the end of the year.

Enjoy my friends! Happy New Year and catch a whole new year of Monday Monday Music posts, starting January 2nd.

I'm keeping the streak alive, look out Cal Ripken Jr....

Monday, December 19, 2022

My Favorite Songs of 1972

 The Class of 1972 is a special group of people to me. I was a year younger and it seemed miles behind from the grade just in front of me. From my first neighborhood chums on West Sunset Street, my first girlfriend, and then the best life-long friends a fellow could ever have, mostly born in 1953-1954. 

I remember being a lowly 7th grader at Fesler Junior High School, the 8th graders were so much cooler, the girls cuter. My next door neighbor was in 8th grade and before I knew it, I was hanging out with his pals.

In high school, the class of 72 was way cooler than my class of 73. I quit their redneck football and baseball after my freshman year and started hanging with the longer-haired sophomores. When they all graduated in the summer of 72, I missed seeing them my senior year around campus. 

After school we would connect and continue our now religious practice of listening to music together. The mantra of "Drugs, Sex and Rock 'n' Roll" was a bit out of my league at that time. Well, one out of three ain't bad.

Here's a bunch (191) of my favorite songs from 1972 from even cooler people born in the 1940's singing to us younger wannabees born in the 1950's.

Hail Hail 1972!

Monday, December 12, 2022

Christine McVie Tribute

 I love Christine McVie.

Most people only know of Christine McVie from the most famous years of Fleetwood Mac with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham starting in 1975 and through the 80's. 

Before the mega-rock-star years, Christine Perfect had burst onto the music scene in 1967 joining the British Blues band, Chicken Shack. As fortune would have it, another British Blues band called Fleetwood Mac often played the same gigs as Chicken Shack. In time, Perfect started playing with Fleetwood Mac as a contract session player in 1968. 

That all changed in 1970 when Christine married bass player John McVie and joined Fleetwood Mac full-time that same year. 

As a side note- The founder of Fleetwood Mac was guitarist Peter Green. Green named the band Fleetwood Mac after drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass player John McVie by simply combining their two names together. In the annals of rock and roll history, I find this to be one of the most generous offerings ever by a leader of a rock 'n' roll band. Sadly, Peter Green would leave Fleetwood Mac in 1970 with a steady decline in his mental health.

I became a fan of Fleetwood Mac in 1971 with the arrival of their 5th album, Future Games. The album includes several songs written by Christine, but the one that kind of got me attracted to her as a singer-songwriter is Show Me A Smile. The song's indicative of what would become McVie's writing style of tight pop classics always surrounded by the wonderful guitar playing of Danny Kirwan, Bob Welch, and later of course with Lindsey Buckingham.

In 1972, Fleetwood Mac released, Bare Trees one of my all-time favorite albums, the cover is even exquisite. Christine would contribute Homeward Bound, basically her dislike of touring, and the song that send me over the moon with my love for this woman, Spare Me A Little Of Your Love. Such a wonderful song that I never get tired of listening to, a complete gem by the band. Christine's voice is so understated and evenly beautiful and I became a big fan of her and the band. To have this woman in your band would be like having Lou Gehrig in your baseball lineup. Christine McVie simply took a 60's British Blues band to another level, a more popular level. 

The enduring thing I want to say about Christine McVie is her great ability to be a team player. In 1975, how many lead women would openly accept another beautiful woman and the dynamo of Stevie Nicks in their band? I would say, not many. Christine's openness to accept Stevie and let her fly in Fleetwood Mac is just another reason to love Christine McVie. 

Christine McVie stayed with Fleetwood Mac through thick and thin from 1968-1998. She then took a 15 year retirement and came back rested and strong in 2013 for even more band drama. Now that's rock 'n' roll stamina and a testament to my unwavering admiration for the greatest generation of musicians born in the 1940's.

In August of 1975, I saw Fleetwood Mac for the first time with my girlfriend, Mary Kit Smith and what would be a lifelong friendship with dorm mate, Mark Hunter.  It was their first tour of the NEW Fleetwood Mac with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Mick Fleetwood needed a new guitarist and wanted Buckingham alone. Lindsey insisted that his girlfriend Stevie join the band or he wouldn't. Fleetwood Mac played at the old Balboa Stadium in San Diego. They played songs from their newly released, self-titled album, Fleetwood Mac (almost like telling the public it was their first album). That album would be the soundtrack of my 1975-76 dorm year at San Diego State. At Balboa Stadium, on a clear summer day, Christine McVie and her band were making history and I will never forget seeing her singing at her station at the electric keyboard.

Mary Kit and I saw Fleetwood Mac several more times over the years and on December 8, 2018 we saw them for the last time with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn in the band. That was a great show with the band still rolling after all the their changes. I end the playlist with a fan's video in Pittsburgh on that same tour with Chris and Stevie closing the show with a duet of a Christine McVie song, All Over Again.

The playlist is mostly a chronological order starting with Christine in Chicken Shack, her first solo album in 1970, and then through her songs in Fleetwood Mac. In the end, I added a few solo album hits, and her wonderful 2017 duo album with Lindsey Buckingham including, and not to ever forget, the rock solid percussion section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie always driving the band. 

Enjoy this selection of this truly gifted woman's songs to the world, as I'm sure, you love her too.
Rest in peace Chris.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Christmas Mix 2022

 Christmas Mix
2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020 • 2021 • 2022

[Verse 5]
At the still point of destruction
At the center of the fury
All the angels, all the devils
All around us, can't you see?

There is a deeper wave than this
Rising in the land
There is a deeper wave than this
Nothing will withstand

I said, love is the seventh wave
I said, love is the seventh wave
I said, love is the seventh wave

Love is the Seventh Wave, Sting

I've always had an affinity for Sting's positive view of the world in Love is the Seventh Wave, and since Santa is love, I'd thought I'd sync these two big ideas for the 8th annual Christmas Mix Playlist!

Christmas rests at the end of the year for good reason. Coupled with Halloween's fun in October, Thanksgiving's reflections in November, Christmas is a celebration of comfort and joy. It is also a celebration of overcoming adversity. You've toiled all year, time to kick back, eat, drink and spend some more cash on the people you love. 

The three holidays like the three wise men have their own built-in economy. Many small businesses survive in the red and then, the last quarter gets them back in the black to turn the corner and start a new year, just to do it all over again.

Christmas is a time for dreaming. Christmas is also a time for big thinking and coming together.

I was thinking about hate the other day and where it come from? I then thought about Atticus Finch, the lead character from, To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus was a big thinker in a small town. 

Prejudice comes from everywhere and touches everyone. But, we often stereotype prejudice coming from small minds in small towns. Not that everybody from a small town is a bumpkin, but small places often can be a safe nesting place for small/closed-minded thinking. I grew up in a small town. 

My parents were wonderful people who gave me a wonderful childhood and took care of me. I couldn't ask for more. But growing up, I often felt small, not encouraged to dream big, to think big. "Doug, play it safe, don't attract attention to yourself." I was never told those exact words, but I felt them. 

Christmas can be a two-edged sword, a time for hope or a time of loneliness. But more than anything, Christmas allows all of us to think a little more outside of ourselves. It's the time of year for "Peace on earth, goodwill to men." Charities also survive to live another year, thanks to Christmas.

You can believe anything you want religiously, spiritually or materialistically or even, believe that you don't believe. But make no mistake, most all of us all believe in the positivity of Santa. Santa is love. He may have evolved from a Christian holiday, co-opted from a pagan holiday, but I've come to embrace Santa as the saint of big thinking. He has a large job to fulfill every year with lots of helpers. Santa is inclusive, he's secular with no hidden agenda. Santa can be for anyone from any religion, he's just there to make the world a happier place by giving.

This Christmas has me thinking about all the small-thinking politicians and pundits in the media, spreading hate and encouraging and influencing our citizens to think-small

Even Santa Larry pictured here gets his share of hate online these days but in his ever positive spirit, says it's a small number, but for those haters out there, "They might be getting coal in their stockings this year." 

So, let's go back to the top, with Santa riding the big wave. I love this picture because if Santa can hop on a sled of reindeer and ride across the sky to every little boy and girl's house on Christmas Eve, he surely can be a big-wave rider too! 

So this next year, be a Santa surfer, be nice and be patient. Any surfer will tell you, when a set of waves roll in, don't go for the first or second wave. Push up on your board (or Boogie Board) to see what's ahead, then paddle hard through or over the smaller waves because there's a bigger ride coming your way. Turn yourself around, get ready, paddle hard and catch that sucker.

Merry Christmas everyone!